Rural Zones

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Cherie Bennett

Recognizing that many small, rural downtown areas have experienced varying levels of economic distress, DCA worked with the Georgia General Assembly to secure passage of a bill calling for the development of “Rural Zones.” The establishment of up to 10 zones per year will enable businesses and investors to obtain tax credits for qualified activities occurring within designated Rural Zones. DCA, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, will receive applications and designate zones each year to provide an incentive for job creation and private investment in the designated locations.

Credits will be available for job creation activities, investment in downtown properties, and renovation of properties to make them usable. The credits can be layered on top of each other; however, no credits are eligible without the job creation element being present. This program cannot be used in conjunction with any other state tax credit program. 

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  • The cities of Lafayette, Cordele, Millen, Homerville, Thomaston, Lavonia, Cochran, Ringgold, Clayton, and Pelham were recently designated as Rural Zones. This program is a collaboration between the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

    Since its creation in 2017, this initiative provides tax credits to individuals creating jobs and making qualifying investments within historic downtown areas that have been designated as Rural Zones. Each designation lasts for five years, and activities to begin earning tax credits within these 10 new Rural Zones begins Jan. 1, 2022. Communities are encouraged to develop strategies and share information about the benefits to businesses and investors.

    The program includes the following Georgia state income tax incentives which are utilized for job-creation activities, investment in downtown properties, and renovation of properties. The credits can be layered, but none are available without the job creation element being present.

    The Job Tax Credit is equivalent to $2,000 per year for each new full-time equivalent job for up to 5 years. The Investment Credit is equivalent to 25% of the purchase price of a property within the designated Rural Zone (not to exceed $125,000). The Rehabilitation Credit is equivalent to 30% of the qualified rehabilitation costs of a building located within a designated Rural Zone (not to exceed $150,000).